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China established nine FTAs in past five years

Peoples Daily Online, China

China established nine FTAs in past five years

9 February 2006

China has established nine free trade areas (FTA) with different partners during the "Tenth Five Year Plan" period (2001-2005), covering one fourth of China’s total foreign trade, according to Ministry of Commerce.

In the past five years, China has been talking with 27 countries and regions on the establishment of free trade areas.

A Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with Hong Kong and Macao has been implemented, and an all-round tariff reduction process with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was launched.

In 2005, China signed an FTA cargo trade agreement with Chile and an agreement on an "early harvest" program with Pakistan.

China is also conferring with the Gulf countries, New Zealand and Australia about FTA construction.

The benefits of establishing FTA have been obvious. Take the FTA of China-ASEAN for example, tariffs on some 500 farm products such as meat, fish, milk egg, vegetable and fruit have been reduced since January 1, 2004.

Trade volume between China and ASEAN reached 46.59 billion US dollars, an increase of 25.96% three months after some 7,000-item tariff reduction program was carried out on July 20, 2005.

By September 2005, some 334 regional trade arrangements such as FTAs have been applied to the World Trade Organization, among which, 80% were signed in the past ten years. The year 2005 alone saw some 27 more such arrangements.

The core of FTA establishment is to remove tariffs and restrictions on goods to further open service and investment market among member states.